Assessing sustainability and adaptive capacity in Arctic tourism
Norway has the largest glaciers of mainland Europe, still there is limited knowledge about what their retreat means for society. This paper reports a study on how the retreat and disappearance of glaciers and perennial ice and snow in the mountains affect tourism industry, outdoor recreationists and local communities. By interviews, workshops and surveys in local communities surround two of the major ice caps in Norway – Jostedalsbreen and Folgefonna, we find that the immediate consequences of the disappearing snow and ice is manageable. Tourism actors have a high adaptive capacity, and tourists indicate that they would still visit the glacier-destinations. But these findings can overshadow the more subtle impacts. By drawing on theories both from human geography and environmental psychology, we analyse how the changing mountain environment is inspiring guides and other tourist professionals to influence tourists awareness and concern about climate change and sustainability.